Feast of the Holy Family

Jesus in the midst of the Holy Family teaches us that the Church is called to be a family of love and faith, safeguarding life and sharing compassion … may the Church always live the challenge of being family in Christ

                              LORD WE PRAY …

               [response:]    Teach us how to love …

The Holy Family of Bethlehem were homeless, persecuted, refugees and exiles … we pray for all families exiled from their homeland,  for refugees fleeing war and violence which destroy life and the respect for life, for those seeking safe asylum in our land, for the millions of unaccompanied child refugees throughout the world; we pray too for all parents forcibly separated from their partners or children: may they be protected and find peace and stability

                              LORD WE PRAY …

We pray for the work of the CCS Adoption Society, asking God’s blessing as they seek to find good and safe homes for our most vulnerable children: may the Spirit work in the hearts of many families to encourage them to consider adoptive parenthood and fostering

LORD WE PRAY …

In a world of broken relationships and shattered dreams, we dare still to believe in love: so we pray for all single parent families,  for all whose hopes for love have ended in divorce or separation,  for all children hurt by the break-up of parents … may they all experience healing and the hope of new beginnings

                              LORD WE PRAY …

We pray for all organisations that support marriage and the family, for those who offer counselling and healing for life’s wounds: for Marriage Encounter and Catholic Marriage Care, for Relate and the Association of Separated and Divorced Catholics; we pray too for all whose sexual orientation lead them to other forms of family life – may we be a Church of Mercy and Welcome bringing hope and healing to those who feel excluded by the Church

LORD WE PRAY …

The Holy Family of Nazareth reveals to us God’s school of love:  we pray for all for Christian families that they may discover Christ and risk living his ideal of faithfulness and tenderness in their homes;  we pray for all the families of our parish and throughout the City,  that we may teach each other how to be truly human

                              LORD WE PRAY …

The sick, the elderly and the dying deserve special care and respect from families and the world of medicine – may nurses, doctors and researchers treat all people with dignity and with reverence for Life; we pray for …
for those who have died recently, especially… and the victims of the Indonesian Tsunami;

and for all whose anniversaries occur at this time,  in particular …

                              LORD WE PRAY …

Mary and Joseph,  pray with us for the peace and stability of the peoples of our troubled world …

                              HAIL MARY …

We pray in a moment of silence for all the families of the world…

Christmas Midnight/Day

Jesus was born in the dark of the night,  enlightened by the glory of the angels … may Christians everywhere so love in the power of Jesus that they may give the light of hope and mercy to the world of today

                [READER:]              WORD MADE FLESH…

                [response:]               Fill our world with Peace

Jesus was born as Angels cry out for peace on earth … may peoples of every land resist all cries for war, and instead build a future of Peace:  may the Prince of Peace be with the Palestinian and Jewish peoples of the Land of Jesus’ birth; and may we bring about miracles of peace throughout the Middle East, Yemen, and Cameroon, Burundi and Congo; and among all peoples denied justice and freedom

                             WORD MADE FLESH…

Jesus was born homeless and poor in the stable … may we build a nation that ensures the dignity of decent housing and wages to every family, where there is room for the stranger, the refugee and those seeking safe asylum; may we build a world no longer divided between rich and poor; may we  build people of hope, healing and new life – we pray especially for working in refugee camps around the world this Christmas

                              WORD MADE FLESH…

Jesus was comforted and warmed by the Ox and Donkey … may we learn to be at one with our good earth and all creatures, no longer abusing our environment, but reverencing the divine creation, and healing our Mother Earth from the ravages of Climate Warming

                              WORD MADE FLESH…

Some 2000 years ago, Jesus was welcomed by the poor shepherds … may we find Jesus always in the world of the poor, discovering him as he walks the streets of our Inner City:  may the people among whom we live find in Jesus the Good News of great joy that will give new meaning and purpose to their lives

                              WORD MADE FLESH…

For the sick and housebound, for the elderly and lonely, for those struggling with terminal illness:  in particular for those who are isolated, unwell or in hospital during the Christmas season, and especially ….

for all who have died recently:  … and all killed in the Indonesian Tsunami and by war and violence around the world; 

for all whose Christmas is shadowed by the memory of a loved ones anniversary, as we pray for  …

                              WORD MADE FLESH…

Mary and Joseph,  teach us to wonder at the love that is Jesus,  and pray with us for the peace of our world

HAIL MARY…

Let us bring the cries of humanity and our hearts’ needs to the new-born King…

LITURGY OF DEDICATION TO THE MISSION OF CHRIST THIS NEW YEAR

 

PRIEST We stand in: a rich tradition of faith, witnessed by the martyrs and prophets; a rich tradition of hope, witnessed by courageous missionaries opening up new lands and cultures for Christ; and a rich tradition of love, witnessed by all who have sacrificed themselves for the poor, the broken and the excluded of our world in every age. In these ways we, the Church of Christ, have served our God and our world well, and for this tradition we give great thanks.

READER We confess with sorrow that there is another, darker, history revealed in centuries of divisions among the People of God; in a Church too often identifying with the powerful rather than with the struggles of the poor; in the persecution even to death of Christian brothers and sisters different from us, and of those of other faith systems. In these ways we, the Church, have failed our God and our world, and for this sad tradition we repent with all our heart.

PRIEST And now, as we are about to set foot upon this Year of Our Lord, 2019, we come to affirm our faith in the Living God, Creator, Redeemer, Life-Giver; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Nourished as we are by God’s Word and guided by God’s Spirit, we come to dedicate ourselves anew to the work of the Kingdom, to fill this Year with the Mercy, Compassion and Love of Christ and His Holy Spirit.

So now I ask you, my brothers and sisters,

Will you affirm your faith in the Father, the Creator, the Life-giver?

PEOPLE      I affirm with joy that I am a child of God, created in the Divine image, called and gifted to continue God’s creation of our Universe.

READER Will you affirm your faith in Jesus Christ, Son of God,
Brother and Redeemer, who gives Himself to you in Word
and Eucharist?

PEOPLE     I affirm with gratitude that Jesus is my Saving Brother, speaking Divine Truth to my mind and heart by His Word, and nourishing His Love in me by the great gift of the Eucharist; calling me to a life of prayer and contemplation so that I may live as brother and sister with all people; challenging me to strive for peace and justice in a broken world, urging me to proclaim the Good News of Mercy and Healing by my action, life-style and words.

PRIEST    Will you affirm your faith in the Holy Spirit, Breath and Flame of God?

PEOPLE    I affirm with profound openness of heart that the Holy Spirit is the breath of God’s Life and the Fire of God’s Love within me: bidding me to welcome and use the Spirit’s Power for deep prayer, radical action and loving community and so to be part of God’s Renewal of the Face of the Earth.

READER Will you, as we  set out together on this New Year, affirm your faith in the Church of God as a living Bread of Christ in God’s Hands to be broken and given for the life of the world?

PEOPLE    I affirm with deep love that, despite its many failures and profound inadequacies, the Church will always remain God’s gift proclaiming the Gospel down the centuries, calling me to prayer, challenging me to live community with love, to heal every disunity, to share my gifts and insights,  to foster Christian freedom and mission and to be Bread in God’s Hands broken to give life to the world.

PRIEST  At the turning of the Year may this affirmation deepen our faith, envision our hope and enlarge our love; as this Year of our Lord 2019 begins may the Holy Trinity continue always to empower our Mission of Mercy and Healing to our torn world.

PEOPLE    AMEN! AMEN! ALLELUIA!

Renewal of our Allegiance to Jesus Christ No 777 & Song of Africa
[each one is invited to approach the Baptismal Water, bless themselves and then be anointed with Blessed Oil for the Mission of Christ in this New Year]

FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD

PRIEST: The Wisdom of God has guided each of us here today, as surely as the Magi’s Star:  for we too are pilgrims on a journey searching for wisdom,  walking by faith and yearning in hope for the peace for our world.  We gather to offer our gifts,  our talents and our very selves on this feast of the Epiphany,  the Manifestation of Christ’s Redeeming Light to all the Nations of the world, the glory of the Father’s infinite Mercy to all creation.  Let us find in the Wise Men inspiration to give all we are in the service of the Light of Christ’s Good News.

READER:     We welcome the wisdom of the Gift of Gold…
our love given to Christ our King:
                          may we so grow in love that we can offer the world
Christ’s healing, justice and New Life…

                                              O … ADORAMUS TE DOMINE [x2]

We welcome the wisdom of the Gift of Frankincense…
our worship for our God in human flesh:
                           may we so grow in prayer that we will find strength
and inspiration to shine before the world
with Christ’s Light…

                                             O … ADORAMUS TE DOMINE [x2]

We welcome the wisdom of the Gift of Myrrh…
our share in the passion of Christ
for the salvation of our world:
                          may we so grow in his sacrificial love that we may place
the demands of the Kingdom
                                    before our own desires and wants…

                                           O … ADORAMUS TE DOMINE [x2]

PRIEST:     May our God forgive the coldness of our love,
                                 the poverty of our prayer,
                                the shallowness of our sacrifice;
                       that we may shine with the splendour of Christ’s Light,
                                and journey with Gospel Wisdom to everlasting life…

                                            AMEN!

FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY

PRIEST: As we draw near the end of this year we gather as a family of families … around the simplicity and poverty, the love and the faith of the Holy Family of Bethlehem and Nazareth.  Theirs was not a trouble-free family life: homeless, fleeing for their lives into exile because of the fears of the powerful, destined to be refugees for years.  Yet we celebrate the wonder of God’s great confidence in us and in our families, entrusting His own Son to a family like ours, for Jesus to grow and develop into the power of love that He became.  Let us rededicate ourselves to the task of love, recognising that our failures are forgiven…

READER:         The family is the school of love:
                              that we may replace harshness with forgiveness,
                              criticism with encouragement,
deafness with sensitive listening

                                            LORD HAVE MERCY

The family is called to be a healing community:
                              that we may care rather than judge, accept rather than
reject,
cherish rather than take for granted

                                             CHRIST HAVE MERCY

The family is called to be a place of prayer:
                              that Christ may be the centre of our homes,
not on the edge,
                               that parents may be the first and best of teachers
                                        of their children in the ways of faith,
                               that love may set all free to search and develop,
                                        not criticism  to stifle and limit

                                              LORD HAVE MERCY

PRIEST:     May our God who is family, Father, Son and Spirit,
                       bring mercy to our failures, fire to our love grown cold,
                       healing peace to our hurting hearts,
                      and renewed hope to the challenge of love and growth
                      bringing us all to everlasting life…       

                                                AMEN!

 

NEW YEAR’S DAY – FEAST OF MARY THE MOTHER OF GOD

PRIEST: On this first day of the New Year, the Church celebrates Mary the Bearer of God to the world. We look to the first and greatest disciple as we are about to embark on making this year truly the Year of Our Lord 2019. We commend all that is past into the Mercy of God, all that is present into the Love of God and all that is the future into the Providence of God, and journey ahead in faith and trust in the God who leads us. 

READER:      Mary said ‘Yes’ to God with her whole being holding
nothing back:
For the weakness of our ‘yeses’ and
                                      the strength of our ‘no’s’

                                              LORD HAVE MERCY

Mary pondered and treasured the Word she carried in
her heart
so that she could treasure the Word enfleshed in her
womb:
for so often taking the wonder of the Word for granted 

                                               CHRIST HAVE MERCY

Mary embraced an unknown future for the sake of the
Kingdom
trusting that the promises of God would be fulfilled;
for our fears of God’s unknown, failing to trust that
                                       God is Love

                                                  LORD HAVE MERCY

PRIEST:  May the Father strengthen our ‘yes’ with His forgiving
mercy;
                     May the Word be enfleshed in our lives with the healing of
forgiveness;
                     May the Spirit carry us forward into God’s Future of
Reconciliation
                     To bring all the world to everlasting life…

                                                  AMEN!

 

NEW YEAR VIGIL

PRIEST: We gather the year that is past with thankfulness for the many touches of grace and goodness that have been the gifts of God; with sorrow for all that has wounded our world through sin and selfishness, war and injustice; with healing prayer for hurts we have endured or have inflicted. We seek to enter the New Year with hearts purified in the fire of Divine Love and lives focussed on the God who makes all things new!

READER:    For Peace not won, and Justice not achieved;
For poverty still rampant and power still abused
We ask your mercy, O God of Peace

                                    LORD HAVE MERCY

For forgiveness withheld and wounds inflicted;
For relationships broken and lives abused
We ask your mercy, O God of Pardon

                                  CHRIST HAVE MERCY

For touches of grace not welcomed and gifts not
accepted;
For the Good News not proclaimed and unity not
achieved
We ask your mercy, O God of Oneness

                                    LORD HAVE MERCY

PRIEST:     May the God of Pardon bring mercy to our failures,
                       The God of Unity bring fire to our love grown cold,
                       The God of Peace bring healing to our hurting hearts,
                        and renew hope as we journey into this New Year
                       To bring all the world to everlasting life…

                                      AMEN!

Christmas Day

PRIEST: Today is a wondrous day … a day for untold rejoicing as we gaze upon the awesome mystery of our God in vulnerable human flesh … the All-powerful contained in the powerless frame of a tiny baby.   Looking into the eyes of this child we can only treat every child with immense respect and love, embrace every human person with a divine love. Yet our world is not like that … and too often neither are we. So we repent of all evil, and seeking the way of peace for ourselves and our world: then our joy will be full this day!

READER:    Father,  come and speak Your Word of Forgiveness
                                  to every human heart:
                         forgive us when we close our heart to Jesus’ brothers and
sisters,
                          when there is no room in our nation for the stranger and
refugee;
                          come free us to welcome Your forgiveness

                                                LORD HAVE MERCY

                          Jesus, come and speak Your Word of Peace
 into the violence and war of our world:
                          for every anger that we harbour within,
                          for every injustice that makes some victims,
                          for being so slow to work for the peace proclaimed at
Your birth…

                                               CHRIST HAVE MERCY

                          Holy Spirit, come and speak Your Word of Love
                                  to a world that forgets how to accept each other:
                          for every refusal to love, to heal,  to give ourselves in
compassion and sacrifice…

                                               LORD HAVE MERCY

PRIEST:     May the Father who has so loved the world that He has
sent His beloved Son embrace you in forgiveness;
                       May the Son and Saviour Jesus who died to reconcile us all
                               touch your heart with pardon and peace;
                       May the Holy Spirit who hovers over this day more brightly
than the Star 
fill your lives with light and healing;
                       and may our God who is with us bring us and all the world
to everlasting life…   

                                              AMEN!

Fourth Sunday of Advent YC

God and humanity meet in the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth:  may the Church of Christ with profound faith offer the space for God and humanity always to meet, that God’s saving love  and mercy might spring up from the earth

[READER:]     HEAR US WE PRAY…

[response]     WE COME TO DO YOUR WILL

Insignificant Bethlehem gives birth to the Messiah:  may no one be counted insignificant or of little value; may the small and poor nations of the Earth be treated with equal dignity as the rich and powerful nations;  may the work of the United Nations help all to value each in a realm of peace

HEAR US WE PRAY…

The Visitation holds rich promise for all peoples:  that the Palestinian and Jewish Peoples will find a new path forward that will bring peace rather than endless ethnic conflict to the Land that Jews, Christians and Muslims revere as Holy; that the cease fire in Yemen will bear fruit of peace and stability in that stricken nation, saving millions from starvation

HEAR US WE PRAY…

‘Of all women you are most blessed’: as God chooses a woman to give birth to infinite love in the world, may all women know they are valued, reverenced with the dignity of equality in both church and society;  may all women who have known abuse in their lives be gently healed

HEAR US WE PRAY…

May the re-telling of the timeless story of Jesus’ birth in all its simplicity and depth bring many to hear afresh the Good News of God’s immense love, and be converted to Christ,  to humanity and to love: we pray especially for all our children and young people

HEAR US WE PRAY…

Jesus is the promise of wholeness and healing:  may all mothers who carry a child in their womb know security and peace;  may the sick find hope and healing especially the housebound of our parish and those who will spend Christmas in hospital or seriously ill, in particular….

that those who have died recently be raised to eternal life, in particular…. and all those killed in war, conflict or the refugee flight to safety 

may those whose anniversaries are at this time know eternal light…

                               HEAR US WE PRAY…

Mary,  faithful bearer of the Coming of God,  pray with us, especially for God’s Blessing upon all women who carry a child in their womb at this time.. 

HAIL MARY…

We wait upon the Coming of the Saviour in a moment of silence…

Assembling of the Christmas Crib

[PRIEST]

We come to bless our crib … by that we mean to ask God to bless everyone who will come to pray, with wonder, awe and love, before this visual image of the poverty and simplicity of our Saviour’s birth. St Francis of Assisi, who lived over 800 years ago, was the first to make a crib … then he used live animals and people: today we use figures to help us celebrate and ponder the mystery of God’s love appearing in human form.

[READER    the Ox]

For the People of God the Ox was a symbol of strength, ruggedness and power, all of which is to be harnessed to the service of humankind and the Kingdom of God.

[CONGREGATION]

Lord God, help us to harness our power and gifts to Your Service.

[READER     the Donkey]

The Donkey’s wandering is a symbol of freedom and choice. It is also a reminder that our forebears, the People of Israel, wandered aimlessly away from God and His Covenant.  An uncommon animal in Israel, and ritually unclean, yet it was good enough to carry Mary to Bethlehem, and later to carry Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to face His Passion.

[CONGREGATION]

Lord God, never let us wander away from You, but help us use our freedom to carry your love to the world.

[READER     the Shepherds]

Shepherds, especially the night watch, were among the lowest paid workers of the time. Despised, placed on the margins of society and religion, without power or influence, these men of poverty were the first to hear the Good News that ‘Today a Saviour has been born to you’.

[CONGREGATION]

Lord God, give us the love and the insight to welcome the poor into our hearts and homes and then discover that we have welcomed Christ Jesus.

[READER     Joseph]

Joseph, the man of dreams, and strong gentle man of faith: silent in the background, but ready to do whatever God might ask of him.

[CONGREGATION]

Lord God, come and gentle our strength; deepen in each of us the strong faith and  tender love of Joseph that we may dream Your Kingdom, and serve its Coming.

[READER     Mary]

Behold the handmaid of the Lord…the one who bore Jesus in her heart’s love before ever in her body’s womb.  Blessed is she who believed the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.

[CONGREGATION]

Lord God, fill us with grace that we may always say ‘YES’ to Your Word and overshadowing Spirit, that Jesus may ever take flesh in our lives.

[READER ]

Now all is ready.  We will sing one verse of ‘Away in a Manger’, No 66 as the Christ Child is carried to the Crib.

[PRIEST]

Let us now dedicate our Crib, and pray God’s Blessing upon all who gaze with wonder and pray with love before our God made man, Jesus!

Blessed are You, Lord God of all creation.  Through all ages you prepared a people as Your own.  When the time was ripe, You sent us a Saviour, conceived by the Spirit and born of the Virgin, a man like us in all things but sin. Loving Father, we pray, bless this our Crib + that we may marvel at Your goodness, imitate Your love, and journey in Your light, until the great day of Jesus coming in Glory, when we will live for ever and ever…AMEN!